Campuses across India are sites that are laden with controversy time and again. With a number of issues emerging, the issue of moral policing universally plagues these educational spaces.

One such issue of moral policing has come to surface in IIT Madras, where a public notice was allegedly put up by the hostel administration, stating that a student had been caught with ‘used condoms’.

What is the controversy?

The vigilance committee of the hostel conducts random checks in order to ensure that none of the rules of the hostel are being violated.

One such check last week led to the discovery of cigarette butts, empty packets and used condoms in the hostel room of one of the boys in the Brahmaputra hostel of IIT Madras.

“They found used condoms in one of the dustbins of the male students. They fined the students for this and put up a public notice to shame them”, said a student on campus.

IIT Madras used condom
The public notice board

“This is an infringement of privacy of students. These are arbitrary checks in an attempt to police us morally”,

the student elaborated.

The student has been fined with Rs. 5000.

Among other items that are banned include electronics like water coolers, mini fridge, electric kettles etc. which are common finds in the hostel rooms.

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Invasion of privacy

This has generated frenzy among the student body of the college. They have protested against the random barge ins by officials, unauthorized clicking of pictures, and the overall demeanour which is considered to be insulting towards the students.

Many vigilance security officers have often asked out of bounds questions to the female body.

“A vigilance security officer asked if the room and bed was comfortable enough when I was at a boy’s hostel during their visit”, recounts a female student.

According to The News Minute, when they contacted the institution, one of the officers out rightly denied that they carried out arbitrary checks. This was in sharp contrast to what the students said.

Additionally, only a few months back there was a protest on campus after a staff member had taken pictures of two people hugging, in a bid to morally police them.

The stand of the college

One of the security officers has said in a statement that “the checks are as per the rules that are known to both the hostel and as well as the faculty in order to ensure that rules preventing certain contraband items are enforced.”

Sriram K Kompella, Student General Secretary has appealed to the students to bring grievances, if any before the student legislative council.

Additionally he has stated that the staff has been asked to act in a manner that respects the dignity and privacy of the students, while maintaining the clause of certain rules and regulations.

The Dean Students Office refused to accept any of these allegations and said “No hostel office has done this act of publishing student details on the notice board. The institute will enquire further about this deviation, if any at all.”

It’s astonishing to see how a concept as archaic as moral policing has the dynamic capabilities to take such extreme turns, that cannot distinguish between violations of rules and violation of personal space.

Sources: The Indian Express, The News Minute

Image Source: Google Images

Find the blogger at @janhaviiisharma

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